Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect - Vermont

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Physical Abuse

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 4912

'Abused or neglected child' means a child whose physical health, psychological growth and development, or welfare is harmed or is at substantial risk of harm by the acts or omissions of their parent or other person responsible for the child's welfare. An 'abused or neglected child' also means a child who has died as a result of abuse or neglect.

'Harm' can occur by physical injury.

'Physical injury' means death, permanent or temporary disfigurement, or impairment of any bodily organ or function by other than accidental means.

'Serious physical injury' means, by other than accidental means, any of the following:

  • Physical injury that creates any of the following:
    • A substantial risk of death
    • A substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ
    • A substantial impairment of health
    • Substantial disfigurement
  • Strangulation by intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person

'Risk of harm' means a significant danger that a child will suffer serious harm by other than accidental means, and that harm would be likely to cause physical injury as the result of a single, egregious act that has caused the child to be at significant risk of serious physical injury.

Neglect

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 4912

'Harm' can occur by failure to supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or health care. As used in this subchapter, 'adequate health care' includes any medical or nonmedical remedial health care permitted or authorized under State law.

'Risk of harm' means a significant danger that a child will suffer serious harm by other than accidental means, and that harm would be likely to cause physical injury, including as the result of any of the following:

  • The production or preproduction of methamphetamines when a child is actually present
  • Failing to provide supervision or care appropriate for the child's age or development and, as a result, the child is at significant risk of serious physical injury
  • Failing to provide supervision or care appropriate for the child's age or development due to the use of illegal substances or misuse of prescription drugs or alcohol
  • Failing to supervise appropriately a child in a situation in which drugs, alcohol, or drug paraphernalia are accessible to the child

Sexual Abuse/Exploitation

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 4912

'Sexual abuse' consists of any act or acts by any person involving sexual molestation or exploitation of a child, including any of the following:

  • Incest
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • Sodomy
  • Lewd and lascivious conduct involving a child
  • Aiding, abetting, counseling, hiring, or procuring of a child to perform or participate in any photograph, motion picture, exhibition, show, representation, or other presentation that, in whole or in part, depicts sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse involving a child
  • Viewing, possessing, or transmitting child pornography
  • Human trafficking
  • Sexual assault
  • Voyeurism
  • Luring a child
  • Obscenity

'Risk of harm' means a significant danger that a child will suffer serious harm by other than accidental means, and that harm would be likely to cause sexual abuse, including as the result of a registered sex offender or person substantiated for sexually abusing a child residing with or spending unsupervised time with a child.

Emotional Abuse

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 4912

'Harm' can be caused by emotional maltreatment.

'Emotional maltreatment' means a pattern of malicious behavior that results in a child's impaired psychological growth and development.

Abandonment

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 4912

'Harm' can be caused by the abandonment of the child.

Standards for Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 4913

A report is required when a mandatory reporter reasonably suspects abuse or neglect of a child.

Persons Responsible for the Child

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 4912

'A person responsible for a child's welfare' includes the following:

  • The child's parent, guardian, or foster parent
  • Any other adult residing in the home who serves in a parental role
  • An employee of a public or private residential home, institution, or agency
  • Any other person responsible for the child's welfare while in a residential, educational, or child care setting, including any staff person

Exceptions

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 4912

A parent or other person responsible for a child's care legitimately practicing their religious beliefs who thereby does not provide specified medical treatment for a child shall not be considered neglectful for that reason alone.

The exchange of images that otherwise may be considered child pornography, when it occurs between mutually consenting minors, including the minor whose image is exchanged, is not considered to be sexual abuse.